Tag Archives: pareidolia

The Mystery of the Cup Tree…

I’ve been out of town for about four days now visiting family and now vacation. Currently we are in a beautiful condo at the Lake of the Ozarks here in Missouri. My parents also have a lake lot (no house yet) about 30 minutes away from where we’re staying, and so we’ve spent some time there on the dock and fishing, etc. Until today I hadn’t really been fishing since I was a kid, at least not that I remember. It was kind of fun, as long as someone was there to take care of the slimy things. I discovered I don’t have the patience for fishing for catfish and staring in a trance at the fishing line just waiting for what looked like the line being pulled. I started seeing things, experiencing visual pareidolia, like grilled Cheesus, except on the sparkling water. No, I prefer casting colorful and flashy fishing lures out into the water and reeling them back in, over and over. Much better. It was kind of fun. And I actually caught a fish (going by the official rules set by my sister), although I had one and it flopped off before getting it out of the water. The fish that I officially caught was tossed back in.

The area around my parents’ lake lot is somewhat secluded and not nearly as popular (yet) as many areas on the lake. Lots of winding roads, up and down hills, woods all around you. It would be quite an experience in the dark, I’m sure. And Jason Voorhees would LOVE this place. Chi Chi Chi Ha Ha Ha. (That’s me doing the scary sound effects. Friday the 13th nerds will get it.)

The Cup Tree

The Cup Tree

But if the seclusion or the hillbilly neighbors don’t creep you out, maybe the story of the Cup Tree will? Of course, it depends on what story you hear. The famous cup tree, a bizarre roadside attraction, is not far from the lake lot. The road is even called “Cup Tree Drive”. Looking at this picture you can probably imagine a story in your head to go with it. The story I heard from a local, with obvious holes in it, involves a woman who invited men into her home for tea. She’d kill them and nail a cup on the big oak tree for each one of them. Some say she buried the bodies in the back yard. Some also say she went to jail.  According to ruralmissouri.org, the cup tree has been a popular attraction since the 1950s. The site also says that the land and tree was “originally owned by local resident Fred Moore, the phenomenon’s origins are a mystery shrouded in years of ever-changing explanations and folklore. The current owner is no more forthcoming with a plausible explanation as to why generations of tourists have left cups, saucers and even tea and coffee post dangling from the tree.” I’m unable to find any of the other stories of the cup tree online. Perhaps readers from this area in Missouri could help us or maybe fill in the gaps of the story I told.

The Shoe Fence

The Shoe Fence

If you plan to visit the cup tree, plan on staying on the road long enough to also see the “shoe fence” nearby. (Ruralmissouri.org also includes directions to both attractions.) After seeing this spectacular fence we decided to consider starting something like this near my parents’ lot… perhaps an underwear post. (Imagine the stories we could make up for that one!) Surely we’ll make millions. I’ve already got the t-shirts designed in my head.

I’ll leave  you with a Vimeo I found. Maybe the story of the cup tree went more like this?

 

Related Post:

Route 66: Bourbon Hotel and John’s Modern Cabins (Big Séance)

 


The Voice in the Car…

 

My favorite stretch of road near my neighborhood.

My favorite stretch of road near my neighborhood.

Today was already an unusual day. Due to being a single father for a week, and because my schedule was going to keep me at school late today, I had to skip my lunch and my planning period  to come home to walk my 4-legged son, Meril. Because of the time it takes to get to work, I usually don’t drive to and from work more than once in a day, and I’ve never attempted a trip home and back during the school day. I knew I was going to have just the right amount of time to make it all happen. 

One of the greatest parts about the drive to and from our neighborhood is a stretch of black top road with several winding hills and lots of trees, a small bridge over a creek, and it’s not uncommon to see an occasional deer just relaxing and enjoying the same setting as your drive by. It’s the part of the drive that creates the illusion that you’re not in strip mall and parking lot filled suburbia. It reminds me of growing up in small town country. I was about halfway through this stretch of road, on the way home, and was busy listening to MSNBC on my SiriusXM radio. I was very tired. I wasn’t nodding off, but I was definitely tired and relaxed, one of those times you’re on auto pilot and suddenly you’re at your destination but don’t remember the drive. I also remember that around this time I was thinking of someone who recently lost their mother. All of a sudden, mixed in with the drone of the female news reporter, I heard my name, “Patrick”, clearly and almost sternly. It seemed to come through the radio, or at least from the speakers in my car. I felt that familiar charge over my body and I’m sure I had goosebumps. Whatever happened just instantly got my attention.

This kind of experience has only happened to me once before. It was an average day while I was going about my normal routine. I was walking into the front door from an early walk with Meril before leaving the house. I heard my father’s voice say my name like he does when he’s trying to get my attention. The first weird thing about that was my father is very much alive and lives three hours away. I called my parents on the way to work to find my mother had a similar experience a few hours earlier when she woke up in the middle of the night to find my father not in the room. Very strange. 

Anyway… back to the voice in the car. Within seconds of hearing this voice I was alert and waiting for a sign or another voice, and I asked out loud if someone was trying to get my attention. Nothing. Was this pareidolia (matrixing)? Did the consonants and fricatives in of this woman’s voice in between words just magically fall into place to form my name? Is it possible that the report really did just say “Patrick” for some reason and it grabbed my focus? Or was this a completely separate entity using my car’s radio or speakers to get my attention? Or perhaps I’m just simply crazy. I found myself comparing this experience to spirit box sessions and how easily you can force yourself to hear something. But in this situation I wasn’t forcing myself at all. I wasn’t even actively listening, and other thoughts were in my head during this time as well. But it was sharp and clear and got my attention. Was this a spirit guide waking me up? Was it the crossed over parent of the person that was in my thoughts?

I suppose I need to stay alert for a while. 

 

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Join the Radio Sweep Experiment… What do you hear?

 

 

 


EVP: “Hey! Great job, man.” Maybe? Maybe not.

Courtesy of www.simpsoncrazy.com

Courtesy of www.simpsoncrazy.com

So I had just started my analysis from an EVP/Ouija/Spirit Box/Clock Radio session from March 25th of this year, the day after our 13 inches of early spring snow. This session lasted approximately 30 minutes and began with setting positive and respectful intentions, and included invitations to members of The Big Circle, paranormal/EVP pioneers, and also a loved one who is crossed over. Like usual, I was using two different recorders, a Tascam with an external microphone and a Sony PX-820 (my favorite for EVP). Twenty-four seconds into the recording, immediately after announcing the time and date, from the Sony I picked up what seemed to be a soft voice. All I needed was a little amplification for me to hear what I interpreted as a childlike voice saying “Hey! Great job, man.” It kind of has a Bart Simpson flare (and as far as I know he’s still 10 years old, alive, and kickin’) . This message was not captured in the other recorder, nor were any other sounds that could have been perceived as a soft voice. I’ve only shared it with a few people, and after talking with them I don’t believe they heard what I heard… only the syllables and the pattern of the message. I realize that the syllables and the pattern of the message is the only thing that is clearly heard here, at least in my opinion. The fact that I’ve already contaminated your brain with what I hear makes this not very scientific, but I am curious to know what my readers hear, if anything.

 

“Hey! Great job, man.”

Unenhanced Audio

Enhanced Audio

 

Just one of the many versions of the folk song written about Liza.

Just one of the many versions of the folk song written about Liza.

After hearing this, I cautiously allowed myself to accept the compliment and I’m sure I had a huge grin on my face! It made me excited to finish analysis of this session. Fifteen seconds later, and still before I had asked any questions, I captured what seemed to be another voice, this time a lower voice with a different quality. Once again, my brain pieced together a message together pretty quickly… it was “Liza Jane”. Ha! This time I laughed out loud! It was awfully nice for Liza to join me in this session. It’s unclear if this is THE Liza Jane… you know, the one we all adore, from somewhere way down south in Baltimore. If it was, then our buddy Randall Keller just might know something about that. I’ll keep you posted on her status.

 

“Liza Jane”

Unenhanced Audio

Enhanced Audio

 

So listen, I am in no way prepared to back these up with confidence that they are saying “Hey! Great job, man” or “Liza Jane”. They could easily be saying “Can I have one of those potato chips?” or… “Dog smells.” And honestly, even though for the first time in a long time I feel pretty good about these two, I can’t even confidently tell you they’re spirit voices. But isn’t it interesting how our brain and possible pareidolia (matrixing) works?

Recently I’ve read a few articles and research that discusses the interpretation of the actual message that is interpreted in EVP. It turns out that even among experienced researchers and investigators, rarely do they ever agree on the message of EVP. Some of these disputed EVP are even classified as “Class A”, meaning most, if not all listeners, should agree on its message. (I don’t usually classify my EVP.) It makes you wonder how we have confidence in this “field” at all, but it is definitely interesting. I plan on sharing some of this research with you soon, but I need to study it further when I get some time.

Anyway, these were the two artifacts that were captured without the aid of the spirit box or the clock radio. During the rest of the session I did get possible responses of names (including my own) and even a comforting “I’m here with you.” I’m still going through those, but my regular readers will know how cautious I am of radio sweep responses, anyway. As far as the Ouija board goes, to this date I’ve yet to have any action.

That’s all for now. Peace!

 

Related Posts:

Join the Radio Sweep Experiment: What do you hear? 

EVP/Ouija/Spirit Box Session: “Ouija… Board”

Who Cares: Some Possible EVP Artifacts, Just For Fun… 

 

 


Join the Radio Sweep Experiment… What do you hear?

At the end of this post I want to encourage you to join the informal experiment and reply via a comment with your findings. But first…

I just finished Speaking to the Dead with Radios by Michael Hobert Edwards. In this young area of spirit communication, he is one of the leading pioneers. Even though I don’t have the wealth of experience at Radio Sweep that Michael has, I found myself agreeing with many of his thoughts and realizing that I could back those opinions up with experiences that I’ve had with a spirit box. In some areas I did have a few differing opinions… or maybe a better way of saying it is that I’d probably do some things differently. I was impressed by how thorough Mr. Edwards was at covering his entire radio sweep process, from the actual radio sweep devices, to how he records, how he analyzes, edits, and documents what he finds. The book really made me stop to take a look at my entire process of EVP recording, in general. And it may have just inspired me to try my hand at hacking a radio myself. I considered doing this a few years ago but chickened out. I want to try it, but I’ll definitely have to reach out for some techie help. I think Speaking to the Dead with Radios would be well worth the read for anyone involved in spirit communication, or in the paranormal, in general. 

Let’s try something just for fun… an informal radio sweep experiment!

If you’ve never tried your hand at radio sweep or using a spirit box, here’s your chance. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be such a paranerd with all of your free time, give it a try! If you’re a seasoned researcher/investigator, I’d love to hear from you too!

Listen to the audio clip below. It is a 2 minute and 40 second portion of a Ouija Board/Spirit Box session I conducted back in December. This is the same session in which I claimed to hear the response of “Ouija… board” (read the blog post from that experience HERE) after asking whoever was present to tell me what I was touching. You’ll hear the “Ouija… board” response at the very end of the clip. 

Regardless of whether or not you think the words or messages you hear are paranormal, what do you hear? Do you think what you’re hearing is the result of Pareidolia (matrixing)? Doesn’t matter at the moment. What do you hear? Even if you’ve decided a particular message or response is from a radio DJ, or a commercial for a little blue pill, or a portion of your favorite Barry Manilow hit, what do you hear? You’ll probably hear many short messages and responses. Will everyone hear the same messages? Leave your findings in a comment.  

Before you begin, be aware that you will hear my voice as I ask a few questions. I look forward to hearing from you all!

What do you hear? Length: 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

What do you hear? Length: 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

 


EVP/Ouija/Spirit Box Session: “Ouija… Board”

As promised, I want to keep my readers posted on this last session. On the late afternoon of December 26th, 2012 I held another Ouija board session, once again incorporating the spirit box and recording it all on a digital audio recorder. This would be the first time I held a Ouija session on my own. Other than Meril (my four-legged son), no one was in the house. And no, his paws are not allowed on the planchette. After a very brief meditation and stating my respectful intentions, the session began and lasted about 25 minutes. 

The conversation on my end went pretty much like one of my typical EVP sessions with a few added questions specifically aimed at the topic of the Ouija. I also made sure to ask for any feedback or suggestions on how to make the communication more successful.

 

The results?

 

Crickets…..

Once again there was no communication via the Ouija board. 

I encouraged any spirit present to also communicate through standard EVP and my audio recorder. Other than one small instance where there is an unintelligible and very soft possible response that may or may not be paranormal, no voices were captured. 

For the second half of the session I turned on the spirit box and continued to wait for a response through the Ouija board. The radio waves were very active with chatter, but at one point in the recording I can hear a possible response of “spirit”. Later, after I asked “What am I touching?” I can make out a fuzzy robot-like “Ouija… board”. A response like this (since my brain is wanting to hear “ouija board” anyway) could easily be pareidolia (matrixing), but I’m open to the possibility.

"Ouija... Board"

“Ouija… Board”

Thoughts? Opinions?

Seemed like a perfectly good excuse to share a picture of my handsome son.

Seemed like a perfectly good excuse to share a picture of my handsome son.

Oh… and I almost forgot. Toward the very end of the session while the spirit box was buzzing away, Meril growled as he stared down the steps to the lower level. It is pretty unusual for him to growl inside randomly so it caught me off guard. There were no relevant spirit box responses and there was no movement from the board. This may have been nothing, or possibly he was distracted by the spirit box itself, but I felt it was worthy of mentioning. 

 

Due to life and work I’ve definitely not been regularly conducting spirit communication experiments in the last several months, but when I have I’ve been disappointed, for the most part. I’m trying to keep my spirits up (no pun intended).

Until next time…

 


One-Syllable EVP: Memo to Paranormal Investigators Everywhere…

MEMO

To: Paranormal Investigators Everywhere

Re: One-Syllable EVP

___________________________________________

I move that we, as paranormal investigators and researchers, stop placing so much importance and confidence on one-syllable “responses” when recording for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Whether you’re capturing your EVP through traditional recording methods or through opportunistic methods like white noise generators, radio sweep/spirit box, etc, one-syllable sounds or “responses” are commonly captured. These sounds can certainly satisfy an EVP craving, especially when they happen after we ask those oh so challenging questions requiring a “yes” or “no” answer. After all, you’re eagerly awaiting a wise response. They really can be paranormal (and some of them clearly are), but compared to longer phrases or patterns with more than a single syllable, I feel they’re way more likely to be either imagined or simply one-syllable sounds (either created by investigators, the clipped voice of a DJ from a random radio station, or sounds found in the natural environment) confused for common responses like “yes”, “no”, “hey”, “stop”, “leave”, or any of the single-digit numbers that we always seem to hear. This is often referred to as “pareidolia” or audio “matrixing”. 

A creak in the house, a car door shutting from nearby, a bark from the neighbor’s dog, or any slight movement you make while recording can be the cause of these sounds. I think sometimes we’re listening for and hoping to hear things that are paranormal, therefore that quick scratch of your arm through your shirt ended up being a response of “yeah.” I think I annoy fellow investigators a lot because I tend to be more conservative (the word “conservative” is ugly, but so is that annoying phrase “openly skeptical”) in my listening and determining what I’m hearing in recordings. Most of the time I probably end up going with my first instincts. If from the beginning it sounded like a scratch, or the shuffling of a piece of paper, or a footstep on a dusty floor, then in my opinion any words or “responses” that you can force yourself to hear from that noise are accidental. Of course then there’s the opinion and theory that spirits may just take advantage of those natural environment sounds or our own movements to create their communication. It’s possible. In most of these cases I think they’re important to note or document. But to classify some of these as “paranormal” or “EVP” is a bit reckless, in my opinion. This is why I have tons of files saved as “possible EVP” or just simply “artifacts”. They don’t impress people as much, but until I can prove otherwise, that’s what they are to me.

I’ve been tempted more and more recently to not only use two audio recorders (the normal routine for me) in experimental sessions here at home, but to also use a video camera. Your brain can’t log (and recall later) every slight move you make in a recording session. You thought you were sitting silently, but did you scratch your nose? Did your stomach make a quick noise? And in my case (embarrassingly), occasionally my breathing will have a slight wheeze to it… or a tiny squeak. And many times a good audio recorder will pick up a noise that you weren’t even aware was happening. Just like in a more typical paranormal investigation, a video might help you more confidently determine if what you are hearing can be ruled out.

When it comes to radio sweep/spirit box sessions, I still very  much consider myself a newbie. But I keep an open mind. And sure, I’ve heard my name a few times in investigations. I’ve even heard spirits read words presented on objects in the room. Those are notable experiences and responses that are probably worth carefully classifying as “EVP”. But if you have a white noise generator or a spirit box of some kind, do me a favor by doing this little experiment for me. Find a friend or two and challenge them to think of a common one-syllable response without revealing it to anyone. If you listen for at least a minute I almost guarantee that each person (if they’re honest) will report hearing their response. Now challenge them to all listen for the phrase “My name is Sylvia and I like pork chops”. Please contact me directly if you heard this one.  

 

But if you have a white noise generator or a spirit box of some kind, do me a favor by doing this little experiment for me. Find a friend or two and challenge them to think of a common one-syllable response without revealing it to anyone. If you listen for at least a minute I almost guarantee that each person (if they’re honest) will report hearing their response.

 

So basically, I feel we just need to be more careful about what we’re so quickly and easily classifying as “EVP” or “paranormal”. 

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a spirit named “Joe”, who claims there are “five” spirits present, simply saw your Little Debbie next to the recorder and said “yum”.  

–Management

 

 


EVPMaker and Spirit Box…

Yesterday was the 10th  day of my EVP experiment. Although I did not find anything I would consider to be a true EVP, I did hear some interesting “responses” in the segment where I used the EVPMaker. I decided I would post this segment along with another example, because its use in EVP and paranormal research is somewhat controversial. I tend to be very careful when claiming things are truly communication from spirits. On this blog and on the Missouri Spirit Seekers website you’ll often see me list audio examples as a “possible EVP”, or like I mentioned above… “interesting responses”. Since absolutely nothing about the paranormal or EVP can be 100% proven (that sucks, I know), I have to be pretty confident before I’ll claim something is a true EVP. With that being said, as a very spiritual person I don’t need science to know in my own heart that life doesn’t end at death, or that sometimes spirits hang around or communicate with us (whether earthbound or from the other side). I’m just not willing to claim that a sneeze from another investigator is an EVP, or that the asthmatic breathing of the person holding the recorder is a ghost spookily telling you to “Get out!” In the rush of wanting to find cool evidence I think this happens too often in paranormal research these days. I’ve spent probably hours in the last week alone analyzing segments of recordings which sound like they could be impressive EVPs only to throw them out because I realized (sadly) the noise came from something in the natural environment around me.

Transform EVP…

Most likely, the EVP that you may be familiar with, have heard through  my blog or on TV, are examples of Transform EVP. An example of this would be if you were to take a basic tape or digital recorder and were fortunate enough to capture a spirit voice in the natural environment around you.  When I use a sound source, such as white, pink, or brown noise in the background, this is also an example of transform EVP, although it’s sometimes harder to review. More and more we are finding that spirits seem to be able to use this energy and sound source to create or form their own words and phrases. You may remember that just a few days ago I got what may have been a response of “yes” when I asked if turning up the volume on the pink noise made it easier to communicate. Many EVP researchers have even found quite a bit of success using just a fan (something with a motor) or running water nearby. I’ve used both for this current experiment.

More Controversial types of EVP…

EVPMaker is a computer program that many EVP researchers have used in the last few decades. It’s an example of what we call Opportunistic EVP. According to the site where the software can be downloaded, “EVPmaker is an experimental software for the generation of acoustic ‘raw material’ for recordings of paranormal voices on tape, also known as ‘Electronic Voice Phenomena’ (EVP). For this purpose, the program divides any recording of speech into short segments and then plays them back continuously in randomly order. The resulting ‘gibberish’ still sounds like speech, but can’t be understood anymore, and is therefore suited as background noise for EVP recordings.”

For my experiment I recorded my own voice reading a couple paragraphs out of a book. You can tell EVPMaker how short you want the segments to be chopped into.  The segments are always played back randomly. In addition, I have it set to overlap segments and have the speed set to 122%.

Why is it so controversial? Since what you’re hearing is already portions of a human voice, it is harder to tell if it is a spirit manipulating the data and random sounds to create their own voices, or if the message you’re hearing is a pattern of sounds that coincidentally forms a message. Sometimes our brains hear what they want to hear. This would be an example of auditory pareidolia (commonly referred to as matrixing).

Here’s my example. I won’t tell you what I hear right now. You kind of have to develop an ear when working with opportunistic EVP. After each question I ask in the example I hear several possible responses. I hear maybe 4 or 5 responses in the whole example. Are they truly answers from a spirit or spirits present for my session, or is this just coincidental sounds that my brain just wants to hear? I look forward to your comments and feedback!

Audio Example: (click the link below)

EVP Maker with “How many of you are present with me today?” 

Audacity sound wave for "How many of you are present with me today?"

Another example of opportunistic EVP that is fast growing in popularity is the use of Radio Sweep or Spirit Box (sometimes “ghost box” or “Frank’s box”). Recently I’ve gotten to know Darlene, founder of Joplin Paranormal Research Society (JPRS). They have had lots of success with using the spirit box. Below is a video of just a few of their many examples.


Face in the Staples Receipt…

 

Yesterday’s post was on The Shroud of Turin. Today I present to you… The Receipt of Staples (you know you want to laugh).

Take a look at this face! I see a boy with very neatly parted hair in a tux. But wait… do you see more than one face? I see at least three. The creepiest one took me a while and is in the middle and to the left of the word “online”.

I make no claim that this is truly paranormal, and neither does the site that I believe originally posted this, or the man who submitted it. I’m certain this would be relatively easy to fake, being that it is digitized and online, and we don’t have much information about the source it came from, other than his name. However, receipts these days are sometimes printed on a mysterious thermal paper with an image that seems to disappear quickly…and as a person who keeps all of his receipts in his wallet, if these receipts ever get wet, good luck reading what was originally printed on them. Wikipedia tells us that “most direct thermal papers require a protective topcoating to reduce fading of the thermal image caused by exposure to UV light, water, oils, grease, lard, fats, plasticizers, and similar causes.” Reduce these things? That tells me a certain amount of it is expected to happen, creating magic artwork on the paper as it gets crinkled, handled with greasy hands, left out in the sunlight, etc. So it would be fairly easy for me to believe that a receipt could come out with patterns that would create a visual pareidolia… or recently referred to as matrixing. But is this little boys face a little too clear and perfect?

Here’s another face on a receipt…

You can find tons of examples of the phenomenon pareidolia on the internet. Some are man-made on purpose and some examples of pareidolia make their way to the toast you ate for breakfast this morning. Are you sure that wasn’t the face of Jesus? Or maybe you passed by the image of a stained Mother Mary on the way to work under an overpass? Oh look! There’s a cloud outside my window in the shape of a Care Bear! 🙂

 

 


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